Meanwhile behind the scenes at McLaren..
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Feb 2014   |  11:40 am GMT  |  162 comments

Eric Boullier started work yesterday at McLaren as Racing Director, a position from which he will carry out the responsibilities of a Team Principal, albeit with a different job title.

It was reported last week that there has been a further change, with the departure of Marcin Budkowski, the Polish born Head of Aerodynamics since 2012 at McLaren, who had been due to work alongside Peter Prodromou, Adrian Newey’s right hand man at Red Bull Racing, as well as his existing colleague Doug McKiernan, Chief Aerodynamicist, who remains with the team.

But in a further twist, it now appears that Prodromou’s arrival at McLaren is looking less likely to happen as Red Bull Racing have been working hard to get him to stay. The Englishman of Greek Cypriot parentage signed a contract with McLaren last autumn, but Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said at the time that he would not release his man until “at least” the end of his existing agreement with the Milton Keynes squad.

Now, in scenes reminiscent of Ron Dennis persuading Newey not to leave McLaren for Jaguar Racing despite signing a contract to go in the summer of 2001, it seems that Prodromou may stay at Newey’s side.

Contractually he is due to join McLaren at the end of his current contract, but there are indications that Red Bull wants to retain its man. McLaren would probably sue for breach of contract if he did not come to the team, but that is a matter of financial settlement, which Red Bull can well afford.

* Meanwhile McLaren’s Performance Academy is set to open its doors to talented young drivers from 13 years upwards this year as the programme enters its second year.

The Academy provides education and support which will help young drivers to hone their talents and learn about fitness, nutrition, hydration and other aspects of the driver’s game. Anyone interested in applying for a place should email

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James, what is with this Mclaren Academy. I thought that it’s like Ferrari’s academy which selectes 4-5 drivers, and Ferrari is taking care of them like Bianchia and Marciello, guiding them towards the sharp end of motor sport, but Mclaren’s Academy it’s a waste of time, it does not select or takeing care of a number of young drivers for Mclaren’s benefit, for future stars arisen from Mclaren Young Driver Programe. Mclaren’s Academy trains and prepares them for their future carrer, but not a word about this young drivers as future Mclaren proteges. Do you have some informations that Mclaren put an eye on some young driver from last year’s Mclaren Performance Academy or that they want to take care about some young driver?


many good comments voiced in this thread but it is a truism the the higher one goes in any organisation the more dangerous it gets. F1 is a business masquerading as a sport and life in business is tough. you either ante up the goodies or you are literally ‘dead meat’.

there are of course other contributing factors but overall performance is 99.9%. it is easy to speculate about the possible scenarios but unless anyone is actually on the inside then there is no way of knowing the entire story about the whitmarsh/dennis supposed imbroglio.

whatever the outcome/fallout i am sure that mclaren know what they are doing and at the end of the day that is what counts. you are only as good as your last season or even your last race result! hopefully we will see a re emergence of this fine team as a genuine challenger for the top step. it is about time.



What does all this mean for Sam Michael’s role with Mclaren?



He’s safe as far as I can see.

His job is Sporting Director, means he deals with the rules and the strategy etc – not the technicals and not the politicals


It’s good to have updates/insights such as this one from James’ pen.

F-1 is a business and business involves not only productivity and results it is all about politics, especially at the top no matter what one would like to believe. Unfortunately the outward appearences and the apparent treatment of individals can give the “human” side of the equation a negative spin. And, no matter what, the “real” goings on behind the scenes may or may not be reflected in the “public” results and much speculation results.

For example, we’ve recently seen the “financial” issues at the Genni team generate a number of interesting public outcomes and related speculation as to the future of that team.

What actually went on behind the scenes at Mercedes which ultimately led to the departure of Ross Brawn and now his “retirement” from F-1 can only be speculative as well.

As pointed outin the responses from readers above, the previous nine years that Ron Dennis “managed” things only resulted in one set of championsips and ultimately ended with the spygate fall-out and a one hundered million fine from the FIA which apparently generated the McLaren reorganization which put Dennis on the “sidelines” for a while. The current piece of that “story” is the apparent engineering of a return to grace and the resulting fall-out.

While the human side of every one of these circumstances is a “cost of doing business” we all live with smilar circumstances in our individual orbits and only a very few in the world have their orbits high enough for anyone to see.

The positive view is to look to the future and wish everyone involved the best possible outcome. Mom and Dad always maintained that, no matter what the current picture, things would always turn out for the better. And, from ths end of the road, they were right.



Am I alone in thinking that maybe Mclaren have showed their hand too soon by debuting their new rear suspension. At this extra early first test. With the extra time afforded the other teams they now have time to work on their own solutions… Wouldn’t it be better to pull a red bull and reveal it at the last test…. Maybe have a fake rear end for the frst few tests.


you assume that the McLaren rear suspension is the finished article and not a red herring. It could be sufficient to allow the car to work well enough in early tests. If the whole car is dependant on the principle then they would need an early iteration of the principle to get the car to work. In this case the other teams can see the principle but may not be able to incorporate it in their cars.

Only time will tell.


This Magnussen dude is a pretty cool one.


Interesting article and if one person knows what he is doing its Ron Dennis.

I have read he was very frustrated over the last 3 years at mistakes and not making the most of having he fastest car (just like Kimi in the very fragile newey designed Mc).

I hope for F1’s sake we have a great season with great racing and McLaren will have a plan if Peter stays at RBR although I have heard he does want to leave.

James – quick question – what have you heard about Sony, McLaren and Lotus trying to scupper, I hear from a friend in Japan that Sony wnat to wait for Honda but how true I don’t know?


Sony ? Last heard their corporate bonds were downgraded to junk status. It is a struggling company and can do well without pouring millions into F1 sponsorship .


Heard it was PS4 related which has a budget for marketing of some £500m in the next 2 years along to make sure it beats the xbox 1. This story will rumble on and on I’m sure


I don’t think there will be a title sponsor in 2014


There’s A LOT of ad space on the McLaren up for grabs.

Surely they won’t start the season with MP4-29 splashed all over the rear wing and sidpods, and a plain black front wing.


Well now, I guess we finally have the evidence that the Red Bull machine isn’t all thanks to Newey for if this were so, the team wouldn’t try to hold onto Peter Prodromou.

I guess this saga (as is usually the case) was simply a money dispute. Peter wanted a raise and Red Bull were dragging their feet and so he forced their hard by signing up with Mclaren.

In addition, seeing as Peter was Newey’s right hand man, Red Bull must have been worried about the possibility of transfer of intellectual property to the competition and so a spanner was thrown in the move.

Anyway, will be interesting to see what changes new boss Eric rolls out at Mclaren and whether he would be a better strategist on the pitwall compared to Whitmarsh.


“Well now, I guess we finally have the evidence that the Red Bull machine isn’t all thanks to Newey”

If anyone thought it did, then they’re rather daft.


If Prodromou stays at Red Bull he will still be in Neweys shadow!

I think more then money people want to grow and the want the opportunity to grow and with Newey around theres not much room for Prodromou to grow.

At Mclaren on the other had he might find the opportunity and the room to grow!

Ultimately i’m guessing he wants to be his own Newey!any self respecting man would want too!

So I’m finding hard to imagine how Red Bull could persuade him to stay other then offer him

the opportunity to replace Newey in the short to medium term!


I am surprised nobody has brought this up yet, but why did Horner stop Prodromou;s move to Mclaren when RBR has Newey ? I can only think of 2 reasons : 1. Adrian Newey will finally bow out of F1 and start working on boats for the Americas Cup. 2. RBR’s 2014 car is proving to be challenging, and hence the reluctance to let go such a senior staff.


As is often the case with a winning formula, it’s not usually just one person but a team of talented folks working behind the scenes.

Could it be that Christian Horner wants to hang onto Peter Prodomou because he will be taking all those years of experience / know-how with him when he finally walks?

OR…with the change in rules this year, such as no rear blown diffuser etc..maybe there’s not alot he can take with him as many teams are starting with a clean sheet so to speak?

On a side note..leaving aside the asthetics, I hope McLaren do much better this year…and this inturn leads to sucess in 2015 with the rebirth of the famous pairing with Honda.


Hi James,

anything new on the McLaren title sponsor front?


Acording to my sources…..



They are offering their 2014 products(McLaren Store) with no title sponsor in.


As I understand it there will not be a title sponsor in 2014


On average how much would a company or brand have to shell out to be title sponsor versus just having a sticker on a car?


Vodafone was over £100 million wasn’t it? If PDVSA were handing over between £35-50 million for Maldonado’s drive with Williams and now Lotus it looks like it’s the mid figure double millions at a minimum.


Nice bit of info James. It would be interesting to know what he was promised at Mclaren & what Red Bull had to alter for him to return. One has to question a persons loyalty and allegiance if he has signed elswhere and Prodromou must have wanted a new challenge– I dont think this will end without a bit of a fight & I dont think its good in the long term for Red Bull either way.

Im really interested in the Racing team dynamic mow that Boullier is in charge and how he works with Sam Michael – Sporting Director- these strike me as 2 very different people. I certainly wish Eric all the best.


Well, didn’t Prodromou initially want to leave because either he asked for a raise and they declined, or he got tired of being Newey’s right-hand man?

Now, the fact they are apparently desperate to keep him, despite him having signed a contract with another team, leads me to think that either Red Bull decided to give him a very generous raise or/and Adrian Newey will actually be designing yachts for the America’s Cup soon so someone else needs to be the new Technical Director.

I think it’s completely unfair though for McLaren, as it was completely unfair for Jaguar many years ago. You sign a contract that it’s binding and you do according to plan. He made the conscious decision to leave Red Bull and Red Bull did let him go. They cannot really have not known that he was in discussions with McLaren. Did they do something to stop him? Apparently no.


What goes around comes around..


I think he may well want to join McLaren, but as the Newey Jaguar example showed, there are always ways of persuading someone to change their mind.

Marcus in Canada

If people want to go, best not to stop them. There was probably more than one reason Prodromu wanted to go, and it is unlikely that Red Bull will be adequately able to address all of them. One someone has decided to go, they’re gone.

Remember, in the end Newey DID leave for Jaguar (by then rebranded as Red Bull).


I agree.

I would suggest Prodromu has had enough of Newey (righty or wronly) taking the full credit for the success of the car. He might feel he deserves some of the credit too. Therefore going to another team, taking on the lead design role, and producing a great car would demonstrate his talents in clean air, free from the Newey attachment.


They’ve been holding Prodromu back, as the heir apparent at Red Bull design, their succession plan, so to speak.

But… … … too long in the shadow, dulls ones power and motivation.

Now he’s made his intentions to fly known, maybe there’s been so movement at RB, new promises of change and promotion and… finally… the top spot.

But it’s all tactics; if RB can keep him away from a primary compeitor, even if they never intend on giving him what he wants, they still gain a prtial victory…

..until the freakishly capable design guru moves on… fishing?!? or just sailing around?


Well, I don’t see how they can persuade Prodromou to stay with them if he doesn’t want to unless they have promised something really big which makes me think it’s either much more money than McLaren offered him or Newey’s position assuming Newey will soon be leaving Red Bull!

If he still doesn’t want to continue with them, all they can do is put him on gardening leave for a long period of time.

Why did Newey stay at McLaren btw?


my understanding is Newey thought his contract with McLaren would end in August 2002, but he didn’t know/remember that McLaren had first right in extending his contract for another 3 years, as long as McLaren matched any other offer Newey received. Newey thought he only needed to give McLaren 12 months notice.

So effectively, Newey wasn’t in a position to sign with Jaguar when he did in 2001, to join the team in Aug 2002.

This was according to an article published by F1 Magazine in 2001.


Interesting times down at Woking. Personally, I think Eric is a very smart, savvy, street-wise operator. Considering all the baggage he had to put up with at Lotus, not least he fiscal limitations, he has done a remarkably impressive and consistent job. I think he will do some good business this year.

No disrespect to Martin Whitmarsh, but he did make some bad errors of judgement, not least the decision to keep faith with the hopless 2013 Macca. If he had listened to Ronspeak and binned that 2013 lemon and brought back the superb – and fast! – 2012 Macca, then Jenson and Sergio’s season could have been so much better. At the very least, a win here and there and some podiums would be of been possible. Ronspeak did the correct thing in asking Martin to depart from F1 management; since 2009 Macca have underperformed compared to Brawn and recently Bull. Ronspeak likes winning constructors and drivers championships, and Macca haven’t been doing that under Martin’s leadership, so right decision.

On a technical level, I am intrigued by Macca’s rear suspension. I felt over the last four years the McLaren suspension has been too stiff, prone to stall, and not producing enough downforce compared to Bull. Jenson has been complaining about poor ride quality the last few years, and also Gary Anderson has been critical of the Macca overly stiff suspension as well, and Gary is usually spot on where it comes to detailing. Perhaps this 2014 car with its distinctive rear suspension has much better compliance and downforce creating potential than previous Macca’s.


While I don’t necessarily disagree with Whitmarsh’s departure, and am very keen to see McLaren back on top, the team has struggled to perform consistently at the highest levels for a long time now. In Ron Dennis’ last 9 years as team principle, McLaren won one WDC, with the last WCC secured back in 1998. I take nothing away from Ron, whose achievements in the sport speak for themselves. I just hope that the review he’s put in place deals with not only the short-terms problems at McLaren but addresses the longer-term shortcomings too. Things look to be heading in the right direction…


Steve, absolutely agree with your sentiments. You’ve hit the nail on the head about Macca’s lack of consistency race to race, year to year, and it needs to be addressed with a long term strategy. Spot on Steve. Martin wasn’t cut out to be team principal. I think the recruitment of Eric is an excellent choice, a very savvy, street wise operator; I always questioned Martin on the lack of operational efficiency during his tenure at Macca. I think also McLaren have lacked vision and direction in their design department, or maybe have not been cohesive enough when designing the car. However, it looks like this years Macca is a much improved machine, so at least a step in the right direction, and you are right Steve, McLaren have to be implement a strategy they will ensure their long term competitiveness.

Well said!


‘Gary is usually spot on ‘…….

I just spat my tea over the keyboard :-).

Gary Anderson was the one who said the 2013 McLaren looked good and that he was pretty impressed at the launch!

He couldn’t have been more wrong.


P.S I hope you have a spare keyboard 🙂


Yes but in his defense he wasn’t the only one…


Yes, that was a bit of a howler of a prediction from Gary, I’ll give you that Tim! Having said that, I think Gary is better on fine detail, rather than a broad over-view. When Gary analysed the front axle zone of the front wing/suspension after I think Malaysia or China (can’t remember which), he was critical of the three element wing Macca was using, rather than the six or seven element front wing used by Bull, Merc, Lotus et al. Gary pointed out that when Macca’s too simple front wing got near the ground it stalled too much, causing a loss of downforce and shifting the aero balance too far rearward. Add on the over stiff suspension with a very limited ride height, and Gary was correct in his front axle zone criticism of the Macca.

I have to admit Tim, after Fernando won in Spain last year I thought he was going to be world championship material, and put £10 on Fernando claiming his third world championship. We all make wrong predictions sometimes, I’ve lost a tenner to prove it!


To be fair to Gary Anderson, I have a bit of a hobbyhorse that I like to get onto when it comes to car launches and him. He always used to irritate me when he turned up at the launch, had a quick look at the car and then announced all the mistakes the team had made. Bearing in mind they had just spent thousands of hours working on the various solutions, comprises etc and here was GA, after about 10 minutes, telling them where they had gone wrong.

Where I did think GA was good, was with a pen and paper in hand explaining something technical about a car.

I am sure he knows what he is about, but he never worked for a top team like McLaren, for instance, and yet he used to be full of all the things they had done wrong.


red Bull might not exist few years from now…so people should also think about this:-)

I really think that it is high time for Ferrari, Merc and McLaren to kick Red Bull out of F1 by racing them hard, winning and leaving Red Bull with nothing:-)


Ferrari and McLaren are just bored of winning – thats why they don’t do it anymore.

Its a natural thing in F1. Williams & McLaren have become so bored they don’t even make it to the podium. It happened to Lotus previously too.

After a long cycle, losing similarly becomes boring and the teams come back up to the front. Consider Ferrari 20 years without any trophies (pre Michael) and Lotus until Kimi arrived was even longer.

Relax, Mercedes are bored of not winning, and Red Bull will have their end too… LOL.


That reminds me of the old Steve Martin routine: How to make a million bucks and not pay taxes. Step one, get a million bucks! The devil is in the details and despite what you think, I’m pretty sure racing and winning have been pretty high on the Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes agendas.


Ah here, very strong words there lad.

F1 needs all the teams it can get. Red Bull were breath of fresh air to most people in 2009 and 2010 when they introduced new contenders for the championship.

People were saying similar things about Ferrari through the Schumacher dominance, pleading for teams to get their act together and send Ferrari packing back to the midfield.

F1 always ebbs and flows. Red Bull won through fantastic car designs from Newey, brilliant management from Horner and pure class from Vettel.

But the rest will eventually catch up and start winning again. Whether 2014 is that that time remains to be seen. But to have such a high profile brand in Red Bull is essential to the sport.

Don’t forget that if they quit the sport, they would take with them Torro Rosso and the magnificent Red Bull young driver program…. which of course allowed for the likes of Vettel and Ricciardo to make their way to the top of motorsport. And hopefully they can bring through even more young talent to the grid such as Kvyat, Sainz Jnr etc.

Their program beats the pay driver structure that the smaller teams are forced to employ.


This is not what I wanted to say. What I had in mind is this: If Red Bull is not going to be winning all the time, they will not stay in F1. They will not be like Williams or Sauber….staying if they struggle massively. They are here for Marketing.


First of all I think it’s safe to say they have been trying to win.

Secondly why would you want a team and a major sponsor which brings millions into the sport to disappear just because they are doing a better job than everyone else?

You’ve got issues mate.


They got rid of the ‘baccy sponsors, so what’s your point again?


Trying to force them out the sport seems a bit harsh.

I would be happy to have RB for another 20 years,just so long as its not a 1 horse race.


“I really think that it is high time for Ferrari, Merc and McLaren to kick Red Bull out of F1 by racing them hard, winning and leaving Red Bull with nothing”

It’s trange that they didn’t think of that own their own…


Pretty strong words mate. I don’t mind them winning, just not always.

Also, they should stop their whining when things go down their way. They somehow feel that they are “entitled”.


I think the whining can also be put down to ‘strategy’ – they know that politics and the art of presenting yourself as the victim is part of success as much as building a great car and hiring the right driver. Newey learnt politicking from the best so I always see his ‘whining’ as modified Ronspeak 😉


It would be better if Red Bull called it quits and left F1 to the 2 old has beens.


How long until we will see a claim from Lotus for illegal transfer of confidential information? Unless Lotus has entered into an upfront deal with McLaren to (temporary) solve its financial woes by ‘selling’ one of the most valuable assets they had left…


Unless Boullier’s taken design documents with him it’s a complete non entity, otheriwse every team would be suing every other team.


I’m guessing Lotus were in breach of contract for failure to uphold their contract obligations (not paying salaries etc)


Good point but a typical confidentiality clause would remain valid even if that was the case as a failure to uphold contractual obligations would normally be a ground for termination (and indemnification) but not to override any confidentiality provisions, these typically remain in place for a determined period after termination…


I see your point in relation to Newey work for any 100% technical employee that is changing teams altough even there a standard contract will provide that a lenghty notice is required in order to keep the leaving employee away from next year’s concept (either that or a 6 or 12 month non-competition clause will apply), but with a not 100% technical person as Boullier I’m not so sure you can simply say it’s taking with you what you have learned before, if he tells Oatley or Goss what Lotus is doing and they copy that then i’m not so sure there is an actual steal of documents or drawings required for Lotus to argue that Boullier did something wrong…


Yes, but when Newey went to McLaren and that car suddenly got a front wing very similar to that on the Williams that wasn’t any breach of confidentiality or illegal transfer of IP. Newey couldn’t forget everything he’d learned.

When people inside McLaren were getting information from a mole inside Ferrari THAT was illegal transfer of IP.

If Boullier takes Lotus documents or drawings with him then that’s dodgy. Otherwise he’s just applying his experience – which is what McLaren hired him for.


It’s an odd set up at Enstone given the layers of company ownership and liability – it’s entirely possible Eric wasn’t even a employee but a partner/director and able to resign at will. He’s never said he was a direct employee and so it’s hard to know where he stands but the way he exited suggests he had more control than is usual.


James, merc essentially replaced Brawn with Lowe. What was their rational in doing so?


I suspect to get the details you’d have find sources close to Wolff, Lauda and the board. Unlike Brawn, Wolff and Lauda have financial stakes in the team. I don’t recall a reason for Mercedes selling out – possibly it allowed the some of the engine development to be paid for via the asset sales. Wolff has had success outside of F1, but is new at this level. Since 1984 Lauda has had more misses than hits in F1. Brawn has regularly been a winner and that credibility brings influence that may be contrary to Wolff’s and Lauda’s financial interests and opinions. Paddy Lowe may have been someone who was unlikely to challenge Wolff and Lauda on financial matters in a way that Brawn would.

All speculation from me. I haven’t as a fan heard much that is negative about Brawn as a manager. I have seen it argued that while at Ferrari he was extremely successful and lobbying for rule changes to block McLaren’s ideas, but that is more a concern for technology leaning fans than the teams.


I’d tend to say they replaced Brawn with Wolff first and then Lowe. Rational may be Brawn was too big a figure for them, may be nationality, Wolff and Lowe may fit better from their board’s point of view?

Maybe the decision was made and the wheels were put in motion before the team started to improve last year?


To be fair Brawn had been mentioning going fishing for several years now so it makes sense that they put a succession plan in place. Mercedes also wanted a set of privateers who might take over the outfit should they wish to have a complete exit from the sport.


As a McLaren fan I am sorry that all this change and politics is taking away from Martin Whitmarsh who does appear to have done as promised and delivered a good 2014 car.

Politics are a difficult thing to manage and Ron I think might have used the poor season to get greater control and hope that making change for the wrong reasons does not create bigger problems.


If it was Whitmarsh that came up with the idea to swap design teams on alternate years then he probably should be fired.

If it wasn’t his idea then I guess he’s just getting paid to be the scapegoat at the moment.


Much much too soon to say they have a good car. At this early stage a good car is one that can complete a lap but when they get them sorted and start to extract performance, and we know more about how well it manages it’s tyres then we’ll know if they have a good car.


I wonder where Whitmarsh is?

I would like to hear what he has to say!

The other thing is Toto Wolff mentioned that the concept of a team principle is out dated!

Well perhaps he hasn’t quite noticed but the concept of a “Team principle” seems to be working just fine down at Red Bull!

He should rather just be quiet and be happy that he got Ross Brawn out.

His comments are obviously aimed and trying to justify his new position and are an indication that he doesn’t feel all that confident!

and frankly speaking Ross Brawn is a man who has the mental capacity to handle both commercial and the technical side of F1!


When you are winning, everything seems to go fine. However, the challenge comes only when you aren’t winning the last few years.


He’s not been into MTC since the press release went out.


Personally, I think it’s an awful way to treat a man who has devoted so much of his life in the pursuit of McLaren’s goals.

I would be among the doubters as to his handling of the 2013 season as a whole but there is no way that Whitmarsh deserves to be in the situation he is currently in. The fact that McLaren has not felt the need to clarify his position within the team since his ousting as Team Principal is an absolute disgrace in my opinion and has dropped Ron Dennis a peg or two in my list of great men of F1.

Martin’s performance as a Team Principal aside, this must be one of the harshest oustings from a team that F1 has ever experienced. He joined McLaren the same year I was born 1989. That is an amazing commitment to a team and to be in the position he is in at the moment beggars belief.

I’m guessing there will be a legal battle at this point. Lawyers’ silence is the only reason that I can come up with as to why there has been no news regarding his status within McLaren. If it was simply a reshuffle to get Boullier in, we surely would have heard news by now. And even if there were a role for him at McLaren (perhaps the road car side), could he stomach it?

James….. your thoughts?


I’d argue that 2012 was worse than 2013 for McLaren. They scored more points, but they consistently made bad decisions all year long, and gave away what should have been at least a driver’s championship (and then lost the driver!), and a serious challenge for the constructor’s.

They then followed that up with the myopic decision to start over from scratch on the MP4-28.

2013, they simply had a bad car, and may or may not have made the most of it… but most of the errors that killed them in 2013 were made in the 2012 season.


I accept your point James. And what’s more, it’s a very cut throat business. Teams have to deliver to meet sponsors and investors expectations. 2013 was a shocker for McLaren. It was unacceptable, no doubt.

I just think a “thanks for all your efforts over the last 25 years and best of luck with your future endeavors” would be the least he deserves from McLaren.


True, but he’s a manager, employed by shareholders, who decided a change was needed

That’s true in any business and especially sports teams.


James don’t you think is a bit harsh to fire him?

I understand Ron may have felt he didn’t deliver as team principle but Martin has been an employee of Mclaren for a very long time and I’m sure they could have used his talents in another capacity within the organisation.

I think its a bit harsh for such a long standing employee to just go from been CEO and Team principle straight out the door.

I always thought Ron and Martin had a close working relationship.

But I guess they didn’t after all!


Re: deancassady: excellent essay Dean, but if Ronspeak is calling the shots at Macca, I can’t imagine Fernando wanting to go back to Woking. Just a hunch, but it’s clear Fernando still blames Ronspeak for his relationship breakdown with the Woking lads and lasses in 2007, so personally I think he will stick with the Prancing Horse. Mind you, truth is stranger than fiction in the rather convoluted world of F1, so who knows…………


My interpretation of the events suggests a power struggle between Martin and Ron.

As it seems that Ron has outmanoeuvred Martin in the corporate boardroom, in my expereince, this creates ‘cultural differences’, invariably of the irreconcilable kind.

If this is the case at McLaren right now, then we are in the period that Martin is looking for a next thing for him to say he is moving on to; so the announcement can be made all tied up; this is typically considered in everybody’s best interest.

Everybody who understands these things (from afar, based on the common information available), already knows, more or less, that Ron has won; so he doesn’t need to do a parade lap, or anything like that, just be as gracious as possible, and it is known by everybody that he is ultimately in charge, making the highest level strategic changes he sees fit.

Good job on the Eric Boullier move; Boullier, freed from keeping the financial ship from sinking may well go on to be champion, if not this year, then 2015-2016 likely. He’s a start on the rise, mark my words.

It is however, interesting to note that all of the pieces seem to be in place, and Whitmarsh may well be the unsung hero to McLaren’s final championship position this year.

Mark my words on this also, McLaren are a very real threat to take the championship this year!

Button is necessarily driving for his career this year; so we could see a very interesting intra-team battle between him and Mahnussen, if the young Dane is as good as touted.

Certainly there will be a new face at McLaren for the 2015 season, could be a Finn or a Spaniard, with the likely move at the Red team to a young Frenchman.


Does make you wonder about the “loyalty” Ron like to talk about.


Its possible that Whitmarsh doesnt want to come back.

After being CEO,maybe the role they have in mind for him is one that Martin considers to be beneath him.

If put in the same position,i would rather walk away too.


They haven’t fired him. He hasn’t resigned

He’s kind of in limbo, as I understand it.


U don’t exactly hear of Global Corps having 2 CEO’s do u?1 that handles the financial side and the other that handles the operational side of the company.

They all have 1 CEO who oversees both sides of the company.


The point is that CEO (Team Principal in F1 speak), isn’t a job description that reflects day-to-day work load or a particular area of expertise. It is a leadership role that reflects ultimate accountability to ownership for operational performance.

It means getting to choose your team and leading them in the manner of your choosing and living/dying (professionally) based on results.

This move by Mercedes isn’t about the size or scope of modern F1 teams, because far bigger and more diverse organizations operate quite successfully under a single point of leadership.

No, this is a philosophical/cultural decision. There is no empirical evidence to support the notion that the new model is better suited to modern organizational success than the previous one.

The only place where the single point of leadership is now an outmoded idea is inside Mercedes.

The only empirical result of their switch to date is that Ross Brawn and all of his experience and demonstrated leadership qualities have left the building.


Never heard of a Chief Financial Officer? Take a guess what they might look after…

In this case, if we wanted to use these kinds of terms, we could say Boullier is the COO, whoever will handle the other side of things will be the CFO, and they’ll both report to the CEO (of the racing team)… who then reports to Ron Dennis.


And Old McDonald reports to the:

“Ee Eye Ee Eye Oh.”


Ron Dennis is the CEO.


They have CEO and COO, who handles operations.

I guess in this case, operations = racing team


Not to mention the UFOs hovering around…


Don’t forget about CFOs, for the financial matters.


Good point James

however I work for a Multinational oil corp and we don’t have a COO.

We have VP’s who report to EVP’s who report to our CEO who then reports to the board.

Some corps do & some don’t.


Seems like a bit of distance and observing the racing team in past years has given Ron Dennis valuable insights in where change was needed.

people like to make fun of Ron. For me he remains a racer, visionary and highly intelligent self made individual.

Who needs Ross Brawn at Mclaren!


Except that by all accounts he’s been trying to get back into the race team since he left it.


But he (Ron) didnt really leave. There was a deal with the FIA/ Mosley for him to stan own following the cheating scandal…


Ron should never had been made to leave F1. That was quite a dark period under Mosely.

Do you think FIA would ever try to make someone like Luca di Montizemolo leave F1???

Very unprofessional to let personal attitudes within FIA influence decisions….

I sadly wish you were correct when you said that Ron never left….


Whats your point? Pushed or jumped, he still left the team but has been trying to get the bored to bring him back ever since.

All this talk of Whitmarsh’s McLaren under performing misses out that they weren’t exactly winning everything in sight under Ron for the 15 years before he left either.


Ron Dennis.



Do you know if the McLaren man is going to another team and if so which team? I’m guessing this is the guy that, at least in part responsible for the clever rear suspension on the MP4-29


Me don’t like


A revolución brewing at mclaren. Soon they will be winning again. Remids me of 1981 sea son, with a solid racer like watson, and a New comer like de cesaris.

I imagine fans will say the current drivers are superior. And i must agree, but listening to magnussen talk the other day, was like watching a robot. No emotion at all. I imagine is his youth, but i guess is just another of the shortcomings of the current f1. They send kid to do a mans job.


Scandinavians are not known for their outward displays of emotion and I doubt Kevin is much different.

And also, damn, but it’s like rolling back the years and seeing Jan again. Kevin really is a chip off the old block and it looks like he’s inherited his dad’s talent – and maybe a bit more.

I also think a lot of the media training the drivers receive nowadays has a tendency to push emotions to one side so they present a corporate, business-like image. Ricciardo excepted, of course. He’s F1’s Mr Smiley.


Dan is the only guy who could drive in Singapore with the lights off 😉


As the old addage says. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Brute strength is no longer so essential but lightening reactions (which dull with age) are at a premium


Maybe it’s because he’s a Dane talking in English, or maybe your expectations of people are just completely unrealistic.

And I certainly hope that’s the last time Magnussen gets compared to de Crasheris


Well said, Andrew.

I’d like to listen to some of these punters give an interview to Swedish media – in Swedish – being native ENGLISH-speakers, and see how verbose, articulate, emotive and witty they come across!

Oh wait – most native English-speakers can barely manage their own tongue, let alone speak a foreign language…


I expect a daniel ricciardo. He sets the estándar for newcomers.


So, unrealistic then.


They sent a kid to do a mans job in 2008. Didn’t work out too badly. A 21 year old took a STR to first place not so long ago. He turned out to be quick too.


Magnussen’s a quick lad who deserves his chance. Though I see your meaning and understand that the essence of emmotive bravery is leaving F1 the way things are going…yet there is one man to call on as far as bravery, bravado and skill go, though he’s out there now in the snow of Sweden hell bent on winning the WRC title in his debut season…all hail Robert Kubica!!


He will need to stop crashing then!


Let’s give him a chance in Rally of Sweden.


The technology and safety in F1 have evolved and made it easier for teenagers to drive in F1, and even succeed.

As for Magnussen being “emotionless”, it seems quite normal for Scandinavians.


Agree about Scandinavians, the Viking countries have given us drivers who like to do their talking on the track – Keke, Mika, Kimi, Nico Ros (alright, half Finnish) and now Kevin which is always the best way: a F1 driver earns his salary on the track.

By the way, what chance a grand prix in the Viking countries, say a street race around Helsinki or Copenhagen? Mind you, trying to get a good nights kip during a summer evening in the land of the midnight sun be tricky!


Can I just add that I think it’s a shame there is no F1 race in Finland. The Finns have given us some of the dramatic moments in F1 history – who can forget Mika overtaking Michael at Spa? – and it seems odd we have no race in a country that has produced more F1 champions per head than any other country in the world. Racing in front of your home country must be truly special for a racing driver, Fernando said as much recently after winning on home turf at Valancia and Barcelona. I street race around Helsinki in mid summer would give the Finns a chance to cheer on Kimi and Vatty on home turf. ……..and also be a worthy addition to the calender. Probably won’t happen, but you can always wish.


Ahmad, I’m pretty sure in the mid to late 70s there was a grand prix in Sweden. I think it was at Anderstorp, which is in the Jonkoping County part of south western Sweden, about an hour and half east of Gothenburg. Ronnie Peterson and Gunnar Nillson were two of the finest drivers in F1, which is why there was probably a grand prix in sweden.

The race itself was usually held in June, and was held more often than not in hot, dry, sunny conditions. The Nordic countries have similar summers to Britain; Copenhagen and Gothenburg are roughly on the same latitude as Edinburgh or Dundee. If a race in the Nordic countries was held in June or July conditions would be fine, about the same as Silverstone really. I remember some time ago a DTM (German touring car) race was held at Helsinki, and race conditions were ideal, same as having a race in Britain or Germany in the summer.

Population of the Nordic countries is small, granted, but so is Bahrain, Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, so the issue of population isn’t an issue in that sense.

You’re right that a grand prix should be held in Africa. Realistically, with terrorism a problem in the Saharan North Africa and more recently Kenya, I don’t think it would be wise to hold a major sporting event in the North or East of the continent. Realistically, it’s only South Africa that could host a grand prix. I’d love to see a race return to the rainbow nation, and apparently a return to SA is on the cards, so watch this space.

To ChrisJson, thanks for the information, I’m going to give my old geography teacher an ear bashing for telling me wrong information on Finland! Sorry, didn’t mean to be ignorant. I do know that the Finnish language is part of the Finno-Uralic language branch, and is related to Hungarian (magyar) despite being at different parts of Europe. Perhaps that why Mika, Kimi and Heikki have always been good at the Hungaroring (Mika said he felt it was like a home grand prix for him).

PS Always loved Finnish drivers, they are always exciting to watch and will wring the balls out of any F1 car – just watch Keke attacking Eau Rogue at the 1983 Belgian grand prix. That’s commitment!


Finland is not a part of Scandinavia, however

it´s a part of Norden (the Nordic countries) as is Iceland. The vikings lived in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.


I don’t think it’s going to happen in Scandinavia, as it’s too cold (which is a problem for the tyres) and their population size is pretty small.

To be truly international, F1 needs to go to Africa, e.g. South Africa, Morocco, Kenya.


“listening to magnussen talk the other day, was like watching a robot. No emotion at all”

Sounds not unlike another Scandinavian F1 driver, who hasn’t done badly at all…..


The important question to ask is does Magnussen like ice-cream? 🙂


Bet Magnussen likes Magnums!


James, why the different job title for Boullier? Would it be to do with the terms of Whitmarsh’s dismissal from the role of ‘Team Principal’?


No, I think it’s because they see it like Mercedes; F1 teams now are major organisations and there are two roles at the top – a CEO who runs the business (Wolff at Merc, TBA at McLaren, although Jonathan Neale is acting in that role currently) and a guy who runs the race team (Lowe ate Merc and Boullier at McLaren)

Makes sense to me.


Absolutely James, its too big a job for one man to run both in those big teams and they are very different roles, each requiring different skill sets.


It kind of p**s me off when Wolff talk like he invented this idea when in fact Brawn and Fry ran the team this way pretty much during Brawn’s time at Honda / Brawn GP.


Todt was the TP, Brawn was the TD (technical director), and Byrne was the aerodynamicist.


Byrne was Chief designer


And Flavio at Bennetton. He ran the business/political/socialising side and left the technical side to others.


Unrelated James, but looking forward to the CASS event tomorrow.

Are any other JAonF1 people going? If so we need to meet for a pint afterwards!


I am hoping to battle across London without the tubes to be there.


Haha, the second part was directed at them, not yourself. I suspect you will be a busy man that night.


I have no idea. We’ll see!


I spent a minute trying to fathom who in F1 has the initials TBA.

… Then the penny dropped.


What? you mean Paul Stoddart is back!?


Yes, That Bloody Australian would appear to be…. wait for it…

Their Best Asset


Random 79 Reply:

February 4th, 2014 at 3:49 pm

That Bloody Australian?

That’s well worked out and appropriate.


That Bloody Australian?

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